HUMS 127, Tragedy in the European Literary Tradition
From its ancient Greek origins through the Renaissance to modernism, tragic drama uses verbal artistry, stagecraft, and emotional confrontation to explore questions of justice, free will, and the social contract (from gender roles to the nature of the state). Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides; Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine; Büchner; Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov; Wedekind, Synge, Lorca, Brecht; Tarell Alvin McCraney, Lynn Nottage; theoretical texts by Aristotle and Brecht. Focus on verbal artistry and textual analysis; on dramaturgy, staging and the nature of spectatorial experience (from Aristotle’s “cathartic” emotional purgation to political consciousness-raising), as on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing. One strand of the class will explore what happens when women become tragic subjects; another, attempts to develop a tragedy of the collective.